Day 48 June 1

Yesterday I went for an early evening walk. It wasn’t things to look at but smells that captured my senses, the evening air drawing them out. I passed a bush that may have been elder in blossom; its sweet pungent scent followed me for a bit, dropping back as I walked on, to be replaced by the rank smell of stale exhaust fumes mingled with dust. 

Along the Falaise walkway above the White Rock, overlooking the ship-wrecked Pier, grows an abundance of pink flowers on little dense green bushes. They exude a sweeter scent than the elder, which stayed with me until I reached the street and my eyes took over from my nose.

Today I went for my swim quite early opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel. I staked my spot along the groyne and, as if peeping over a garden fence, I spied two men on the next beach splayed out on the shingle: one his skin as white as bloodless fingers on a cold day, the other so tropically brown I half wondered whether it had come out of a bottle! I braved the sea and swam counting seconds. That may seem odd but it helps me stay in when my mind is screaming: It’s too darn cold!!! I managed 7 minutes and will do more each day.

I had never noticed the exquisite beauty of the groyne posts before, worn to different textures and colours by the relentless tides. 

Back via the winding closed church steps to West Hill Road. I wanted to go further but all public toilets are closed. Thereby hangs many a grouse by residents regarding the droves of visitors who come down for a day out by the sea as Lockdown eases. Enough said! 

Into the park that looks distinctly regal as you enter via the archway attached to the Lodge. Another favourite tree whose foot clings precariously to the edge of the bank, flanked by a gaily clad rhododendron and an assortment of green suitors, catches my eye; as do the waving grasses springing out of the ground by a weathered stone wall.

Nature hones and carves man-made structures into sublime ancient beauties that we admire more than the newer, bland constructions. She grows the fruits of her womb to different seasons, each season having a beauty of its own. So it is with humans, yet we fail to recognise that the ancient is as radiant as the new; that a gnarled hand, like the root of the tree, holds the memory of untold riches in its palm. 

I walk back through Stanhope Place and pass a newly-painted house sporting an artfully arranged installation that is too good to be real, even though it is. Further on a chaotic joyous gaggle of pots and gaudy flowers that make me smile. 

Home and time to switch on my head…